Tuesday, February 3, 2015

In which I am ridiculous and jealous of nothing important

Sometimes I get frustrated with myself, and generally its because I'm doing that horrible thing I think a lot of dancers do, where I compare myself to others and always come up short. I think many of us are perfectionists, and so we get ourselves into trouble when this kind of thought process starts (me especially, as I have a history of low self esteem and eating problems, boo).

(Under a break because this is LONG.)

It's funny how, even though I often feel like I'm more or less "healed" because I'm eating correctly these days and feel pretty good about myself, the old feelings of inadequacy can creep back in. They've been coming up more often for me lately, which I hate, because dance is something I love and I don't want it to be a problem for my mental health (disclaimer: my original problems were NOT dance related, and developed in college when I was depressed; however, constantly seeing oneself in the mirror in a leo and tights can be a challenge).

I don't have any issues in class. I feel like each of us has our strengths and weaknesses, myself included. One dancer is great at turns, but struggles with turnout. Another is super flexible, but doesn't have the strength to control it. I do some turns really well, others horrifically, and am strongest in waltz combinations.

Then the winter show happened. The winter show was not a problem for me last year, as I was fully happy to be in the corps again (which has plenty to do). I felt the same when we began the process this year, especially since I was hoping one of the girls I take class with would get the lead dance role (which does several solo and partnering numbers that are a mixture of ballet and jazz). Alas, that didn't happen. The dancer who DID get the part ended up having to drop out, and instead of replacing her with my classmate, the powers that be asked an adult jazz dancer to step in.

Everyone was okay with this at first (except for my classmate, who I knew was upset about the whole thing, despite still getting an important part). But here's where I get ridiculous: I started getting jealous.

I have never wanted the lead role in our winter show. Partly because it was on pointe, and secondly because of the partnering (which I haven't done in over 20 years). But then they changed the role to accommodate the jazz dancer and there were no more pointe shoes. I started thinking, "Well, hell, I could possibly have done that part," and then wondering why they'd never asked me to even audition. Did they prefer me in the corps to help lead the others? Or were there other reasons? This quickly escalated (in my head) to thinking that maybe the reason they've never asked me, despite the compliments on my technique, was because of my BODY. (See what I mean about ridiculous? How did I even jump there? Old habits die hard, apparently). Jazz!Dancer is much thinner than I am, though I feel that I'm a stronger dancer (especially ballet-wise).

Recently a woman my age has started attending one of the adult classes, and she is AMAZING. Like...I think she may have been a professional in the past, maybe? Super graceful, amazing flexibility and extension. She made me feel like a lumbering buffoon, and I wasn't even dancing in the damn class.

All of this is even more silly when I remember that I never wanted to become a professional dancer, mainly because of the competitiveness (which is exactly what I'm doing in my head!)


Things I need to remember: I'm dancing because I love to dance, not because I want to go join the ranks of NYCB or something. And also that I'm a curvier girl by nature, and perhaps I should quit comparing myself to others FOR GOD'S SAKE.

But it's hard.

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